Archive for May, 2001

It wasn't me.

Forever the runner-up and seemingly destined
to fall into the also-ran category, Hampton Roads  has never had much success when it comes to landing major events that an area this size should.

Until now.

Thursday’s inaugural Teenapalooza concert at  .
the Verizon Wireless Virginia Beach Amphitheater is a big step in a new direction.

With a smorgasbord of performances by Sisqo, Shaggy, Nelly, Lil’ Bow Wow, Dream, Jessica Simpson and others, the extravaganza is being taped for a national broadcast on Fox TV as part of the network’s Teen Choice Awards and its “Last Class Bash” summer kickoff.

The show will air June 20 at 8 p.m.

So how did Virginia Beach pull off such a coup?

The Amphitheater, which had to compete with a dozen or so other venues throughout the United States for the right to host the show, seemed to be the best fit for Fox, according to Fox publicist Josh Governale.

“We looked at the support these acts received (in terms of record sales) in each area, the teen-age segment of the population for the region, and the venue itself,” Governale said. “It wasn’t that tough a choice.”

That’s something Virginia Beach Mayor Meyera E. Oberndorf loves to hear:

“I can’t tell you how delighted I am to hear that they  found our city to be representative of the ideal location for this event” she said. “Every year we play host to over 3 million visitors, so it should come as no surprise. We feel privileged to provide teen-agers elsewhere with the opportunity to enjoy the Last Bash concert before the summer begins in earnest.”

So the site was settled. Now the question of who was going to perform loomed. Several performers were reportedly turned away due to time constraints.

“We wanted to pick talent that’s making an impact in the music that teen-agers listen to and that’s available for the show,” Governale said. “It turns out that we had a lot of the latter. A lot of acts are familiar with Virginia and her beaches, so they were more than willing to make the trip. Unfortunately, we couldn’t say yes to all of them.”

But the ones they did say yes to result in the “mother-of-all-lineups.” Take a look:

Let me see that thon-tha-thon-thon-thong.

Sisqo:

Yes, Mr. Thong—tha-thon-thon-thong himself will be making his presence felt at theshow. The front man for the Baltimore-based R&B group Dru Hill has had a good couple of years. His 1999 solo debut “Unleash the Dragon” sold more than 5 million copies, he’s appeared in a feature film, hosted his own show on MTV and has generally done whatever the heck he’s wanted to.

Now, as he prepares for the June 19 release of his sophomore solo effort “Return of the Dragon,” one can rest assured that we’ll be seeing plenty of the diminutive, tattoo-laden singer/songwriter!

Shaggy:

Born Orville Richard Burrell (yep, you read that correctly), Shaggy is pretty much the man who put New York reggae on the map. His world-wide hit “Oh Carolina” helped start the raga boom of the early 90s. But after a prolific rise came the proverbial fall. As his second hit, the Grammy-winning “Boombastic” faded off the charts, the gravelly voiced singer had trouble selling his music and jumped to another label.

His controversial hit “It Wasn’t Me,” along with the rest of his mu1ti-platinum album “Hot Shot”
was last year’s biggest surprise.

Nelly:

Anybody who can hi-jack the theme song from “The J effersons” and make it work has got to get some respect. The track “Batter Up” was part of the St. Louis native’s multi-platinum debut “Country Grammar.” Spawning hits like the title cut, “E,I.” and “Ride Wit Me,” the album was one of the year’s best.

Dream:

With a platinum album, “It Was All a Dream,” and two top five hits under their belts, “He Loves U Not,” and “This Is Me,” these girls are definitely living their dream.

I suddenly lost my train of thought...

Jessica Simpson:

She’s young, she’s beautiful, and if you listen to her, she is blessed. In an era of wind-up divas, she is refreshingly honest, remarkably focused and true to her beliefs. Her second album “Irresistible,” was released last week and the title cut is forecasting better things to come.

LiI’ Bow Wow:

If you missed him Sunday at the Hampton Coliseum, check him out at the Amphitheater. His debut album “Beware of Dog” has already gone multi-platinum.

City High:

Their single “What Would You Do” has been getting plenty of airplay, but did you know it was part of the soundtrack to the Eddie Murphy/Martin Lawrence movie “Life”? Now, with a second lease on life, the single is driving some rapidly growing sales for the New J ersey-based trio.

S Club 7:

These folks exuded mixed reactions when they burst onto the music scene in 1999. To some, they were a bunch of fresh-faced performers with a whole lot of upside, but to others they were the
most horrific British import since foot and mouth disease.

Thanks to their TV series “S Club 7 in Miami” on the Fox Family Channel, the group seems to have righted their ship. Known for high-energy performances, this group should be something to watch.

Eden’s Crush:

The “Popstars” cameras aren’t following them around anymore, but the group’s five members say their made-for-TV ensemble is staying together for real. They’ve already recorded a couple of
songs in Spanish and will be touring with ’N Sync on the Pop Odyssey Tour.

This show could be electrifying.

With a line-up like that, it’s safe to say this concert will be huge.

“This show isn’t going to be your run—of-the—mill concert,” said James Colsten, an Amphitheater marketing employee. “The host, the artists, even the venue itself will be geared up to be a festival-like atmosphere. We don’t want the audience to come and just watch the show. We want them to be a part of the show.”

I hear that.

“As Napster, as we know it suffers a slow but virtually certain court-ordered death, the era of free, all-you-can-download online music appears to be over.”

That is one of the many headlines I caught in the wake of last month’s U.S. Appellate Court ruling against the beleaguered dot-com.

And all I can say to those nay-sayers is…bite me, you uneducated masses.  Seriously though, did you really think the issue was going to leave us anytime soon?

Remember that it was I who all but guaranteed that this issue would be visiting the Supreme Court in Washington some six months ago.

And why should that have meant anything to anyone? Who the hell am I when it comes to the all-time prognosticators (and who cares if the prediction is merely few months old?)

Well I am the guy who told you two weeks before the last presidential election to “get off your ass and vote, this is going to be historically close” am I not?

I am the guy who told you to brace for the fact that the Baha Men might indeed walk away with a Grammy for “Who Let The Dogs Out?” am I not?

Ahhh, enough of that crap.  I’m thinking you are all getting the point right now.  So now, after all of those so-called “experts” questioned my wisdom and wrote Napster, Inc. off, we seem to be just about right back to where we started. Go figure.

Now, does anyone here remember my last piece on this subject?  The one where I intimated, with a big ol’ “hint, hint” that files with typographical errors in their name would not be required to be removed from the Napster database.

Well, don’t look now but that seems to have became a huge issue in this debate.

To recap, in a nutshell, the latest “legal setback” Napster was dealt indicated that record labels would be required to provide the company with a list of all copyrighted material that is to be removed from the site through a filtering program.

However, and this was one big ass however, any files that were falsely named or contained errors were not covered under the injunction. The file names submitted had to be identical to the file available online or the company was not required to remove said file.

The impact was felt immediately as millions of Napster-ites began altering their file names in subtle, and sometimes not-so-subtle, ways to get around the filters that had recently been installed.

But it wasn’t until recently that some freakin’ genius kid at MIT created a program called Aimster that automatically translates your MP3 files into pig latin. This lil’ bugger will also automatically translate searches you perform so you don’t have to pull a muscle trying to figure that kind of shit out.

But the absolutely best part is there isn’t a thing record labels can do abut it.

At its base form the thing is an encryption device. If someone were to create a program that would decipher the thing that would be the equivalent of “cyber breaking & entering” according to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the very same piece of legislation record labels used in their legal maneuvers that have gotten us here in the first place.

So weeks after they were supposed to shut down, Napster Inc. is just truckin’ along at a record pace, thanks in large part to all of the exposure this ruckus has created. At any given point in the day one can find more than 20 million users logged on and swapping songs at an incredible rate.

And then there are the “copycat” programs I first mentioned last summer. Gnutella, BearShare, Mactella, and OpenNap are just a few of the Napster clones that have sprung up in recent months. While none of them are as user-friendly as the original file-swapping program they can all get you what are looking for without much effort.

But the new kid on the block everyone is talking about is iMesh.

An extremely light-weight, user-friendly program, this one is based out of Israel so it is virtually lawyer proof. Why? Because number one it isn’t subject to U.S. copyright laws and two it is in freakin’ Israel.

Does anyone really think ol’ Dubya is going to jeopardize relations with only true ally in the Middle East just because Lars from Metallica is pissed about losing a little bit of his revenue stream?

And as each and every day passes, more and more users are jumping on board, taking the thing for a test drive. If, and I stress “if”, Napster does ever go under, it could be a decade or more before record labels ever figure out how to get rid of overseas based file-sharing programs.

And frankly, by then the technology will have evolved to the point where we have all moved on to something new like Bittorrents.

The revolution may not be televised, but it sure as hell can be downloaded…